Name: Doan Saracaydin
At the moment: Turkey
F&B Manager / Sommelier
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
I was invited to a huge birthday party in Palm Beach, Miami in 1999 and it was a crazy pairing night, I tasted lots of rare and young champagnes, wines, digestives and foods exc. and that night thoughts came out – I tasted I enjoyed and I decided to become a Sommelier and then luckily I met with Celebrity Cruises Sommelier’s (after yearly trainings, exams, tastings, travels exc.) and I joined the Company.
What specific traits or skills should a Sommelier(e) possess for professional performance and is there any person with that qualities you especially admire within the wine industry?
It’s essentially need to have a patience, passionate and lots of various skills and never give up because it will take many years. I am so enthusiast to Mr. Rick Garced President & CEO United States Sommelier Ass. Jancis Robinson is a British wine writer, MW and wine critic in world wine business.
What would be your advice to a young Sommelier(e) i.e. Commis Sommelier(e) where to look finding an adequate position at home or abroad? Any further tips?
Sommeliers need to travel, need to explore themselves with old hand. Try to have a job in vineyard to gain experiences on the field. My future tips for Sommeliers, go to the Cruise Companies and you will find the differences.(experiences, practises, travels, visits to vineyards, tastings, pairings, crazy wine selections and lots of exams)
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?
A critical issue is when our customers ask me to recommend the best wine from our wine list. I have several favorite wines that I can suggest, however I have to keep in mind that I need to recommend the best wine for my customers. I have to ‘read’ the guest and ask questions in order to find the perfect wine selection. They might be celebrating a special occasion, so perhaps champagne could be a great option. They might prefer the perfect wine for their entrée where a full-bodied red could be the best choice.
I try to be polite and explain them that they can be right for the their own wine choice but I always express the correct answer as my suggestion. First and foremost is when guests are guarded about their price point. Eventually we will find out what their price point is as soon they order. Another challenge crosses these two issues. When guests possess a working vocabulary of wine and know their likes & dislikes, it can often be more confusing than helpful if that information is being misused. Terms like ‘dry wine’, ‘no oak’, ‘the best’, and ‘no Merlot’ can be misleading if carelessly used.
What’s your philosophy about glasses? Are you working with well known brands or are you considering new brands as well and how do you determine?
I like well known brands and the Riedel wine glass company series is fine for me.I like large bowls in which our small pour of wine, whether red or white, has plenty of room to breathe and I can swish and swirl to our heart’s content. A fine everyday glass, to me, is like great movie music. It doesn’t demand attention on its own but enhances the mood and action at every moment. It’s a very personal issue of how it feels in my hand and how it delivers the smells and tastes of the wine. I also want a glass to be both sensual and unfussy, which can be a difficult trick.
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
The problem of pairing wine and food seems to be one that bothers many people. It’s never bothered me, though, as I follow two basic rules. Firstly, it’s far more important to pair wine with people, not food. Secondly, wine and food in general work well together – there are only a few combinations which really do not work. To summarise, there are just a few important points to bear in mind when thinking about which wines work well with which foods. Keep your guests’ taste in mind – will they enjoy the wine you are considering? When pairing wine and food, there are just a few combinations to avoid. Otherwise most wines will work well with most foods. Watch out for problem foods. Do you need to serve more than one wine to get around this? Don’t be swayed by the opinions of others. Riesling with beef is fine, if that is what they enjoy. That’s all I’m prepared to say about pairing wine with food.
Should a Sommelier(e) taste the guest’s wine?
Many people, even those who know something about wine, are not comfortable suggesting that a bottle is flawed. They might feel uncertain, or embarrassed, and would rather endure a bottle they are not enjoying then send it back. If a sommelier can prevent that, I think it’s worth the sip that’s sacrificed.
What are the key ingredients for creating a wine list for a restaurant and what is your opinion on some ridiculous pricing on wine in restaurants, do you have tips on how to determine mark ups?
The wine selection is the most critical part of creating the wine menu. You need to find a supplier, select the labels you wish to purchase, manage your inventory, and make sure you can sell the wine you select. Follow these guidelines when choosing your wines. No matter the price, make sure that you can offer an enjoyable and satisfying wine selection while staying within your inventory budget. The prices you pay will be reflected in the prices you charge your customers, so try to make the value apparent. If you choose expensive wines, make sure they truly offer something special. Not all expensive wines are good wines for your concept, and some of the best wines may turn out to be very affordable.
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?
The repetition, the learning process of something new is really present. I believe that participation in competitions or contest give much to the profession of Sommelier. It contributes to refreshing the knowledge to apply it in practice.
How would a new vineyard get the attention of someone like you to notice their wine and what’s the best way for producers to improve their chances of being listed?
To taste new wines, present at first, revealing an unforgettable story of spiritual awakening I believe and I respect that. To be realistic for your question, new wines and tasting palates really need to be a bump. It should surprise me, confuse me or maybe wow me. Listed for improvement changes it says to me marketing strategy and experiences (Sommeliers are the best doing this)
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
I would probably be a Sauvignon Blanc, it adapts easily to all kinds of growing conditions and for me it is the world’s most honest wine.
What are the top 3 types of wine (your faves) would we find in your home wine collection and what’s your desert island wine?
It would be Champagne, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from all over the world. If I have to stay on a desert Island, I would certainly choose Far Niente “Dolce” Napa Valley to bring with me and a few bottles of Vylyan Jegbor Ice Wine and Villany-Siklos from Hungary.
Any interesting suggestions about magazines or online platform?
Wine spectator’s, Decanter, Cellartracker, Rolling Pin, Falstaff
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions – www.sommelier-jobs.com